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P.M. Question Time

News/Business. The British Prime Minister answers questions from the floor.

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Europe 17, Britain 16, Us 6, European Union 4, United Kingdom 3, David Robert Shaw 2, Scotland 2, Afghanistan 2, Davos 2, Eleanor Roosevelt 1, Issing 1, Eu 1, Jacqui Kennedy 1, Roscoe 1, Ronald Noonan 1, Leon Panetta 1, Elizabeth 1, David Robert Schock 1, David Cameron 1, Obama 1,
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  CSPAN    P.M. Question Time    News/Business. The British Prime  
   Minister answers questions from the floor.  

    January 28, 2013
    12:00 - 12:30am EST  

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of commons. after that, a house hearing on military sexual assault. then a leon panetta announces he is lifting the ban on combat for women. tomorrow on "washington journal," jonathan turley talks about president obama's use of executive power and the constitutional system of checks and balances. coral davenport examines the prospects for climate change legislation. for a massacre ronald noonan discusses the cost of diplomatic security. live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c- span. >> the first lady's i am drawn to are the ones on the ground floor, the modern-day perce ladies are the ones i can identify with more, eleanor roosevelt, jacqui kennedy -- jackie kennedy. those are the woman's -- women whose stories to a close enough
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to connect with. many of the women in the higher floors, on the state floor, they seem like characters from a wonderful story because it was such a long time ago. it is history. you read about it in books. to be in their presence seems little bit disconnecting. the first lady's on the ground floor, the ones i remember, i remember there are real stories. i can picture their lives. in this incredible way that makes me think about their challenges and struggles and how they used the space. >> the first ladies, their private and public lives. c-span is teaming up with the white house historical association. "first ladies: influence and image." this begins on president's day,
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at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific on c-span. >> just before question time and wednesday, british prime minister david cameron delivered a speech outlining his government's position on britain's role in the eu. he pledged to hold a referendum on britain's future in the eshoo if conservatives win the next election. he took questions from the british house of commons. this is 35 minutes. >> prime minister. >> question number one a, dilma, mr. speaker. -- thank you, mr. speaker. i am sure the whole house will wish to draw any in paying attribute to david robert shaw. he died and queen elizabeth hospital birmingham last wednesday as a result of wounds that he sustained in
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afghanistan. he gave his life for the safety of the british people, and his incredibly great contribution must never be forgotten. our profound condolences are with his loved ones. this morning, i had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, and in addition to my duties in this house i shall have a further meetings today. >> i am sure the whole house and the whole country would want to associate themselves with the prime minister's comments about david robert shaw. on monday, the prime minister stated that the task for our generation was to struggle against terrorism. on tuesday, is government sacked 5600 troops. why is it if there is such a gap between what the prime minister says and what he does? >> i think the honorable gentleman asks an important question. i do not deny for one second that we have had to take a good decisions about defense spending. let me make this point.
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at 33 billion pounds a year, we have the fourth largest defense budget anywhere in the world. it is important that we make sure that we have the right scale and shape of armed forces, and they have the right capabilities. that is why in the defense review, we are investing in drones, special forces, a key intelligence capabilities, making sure that we also have the aircraft we need to ensure that we have highly mobile armed forces. i am incredibly proud of what our armed forces do. because we are balancing our budget, and will be better equipped for the future. >> 68 years ago this sunday, the nazi concentration camps of auschwitz was liberated. as we mark holocaust memorial day, will the prime minister committed to ensuring that young people in this country always have the opportunity to learn about what took place in the darkest period in our shared history, and will be commend the work of the holocaust
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educational trust? >> i think my honorable friend speaks for the whole house and indeed the whole country in raising this vital issue, and in pleasing. praising the holocaust educational trust -- an absolutely brilliant charity an organization and makes sure that young people from schools across our country have the opportunity to go and see the places where the terrible event of the holocaust took place. i had an immense privilege of meeting with a holocaust survivor whose store was truly rock and truly heartbreaking, but in her 90s, she is still making these arguments and making this case so future generations will learn. we should also learn, not just about the european holocaust, but what has happened recently in rwanda, bosnia, cambodia. >> can i join the prime minister
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in paying tribute to kinsman david robert schock of first battalion of the duke of lancaster is regiment? he showed the utmost courage and bravery, and the condolences of the whole house to go to his family and friends. can the prime minister guarantee that if he gets his in a eight- out referendum he will campaign to stay in? >> yes, i want britain to be part of a reformed and successful european union. this entire argument is about what is in britain's national interests. we want a european union that is more open, more flexible, more competitive, not just good for britain, but good for europe too. >> i do not think that was quite a complete answer to my question. let us see if we can press the prime minister a bit further about how he is going to vote. is he saying that if he does not achieve his negotiating strategy, he will recommend-a
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part-time chancellor can hang on a minute. is he saying that if he does not achieve his negotiating strategy, he will recommend that britain leads the european union? >> it is are welcome that the right honorable gentleman is accepting the promise -- a promise that conservatives will win. interestingly, not reason the fact that the unemployment figures are down once again today. employment is up by 90,000 this quarter, and the rate of job growth last year was the fastest since 1989. i answered his question very clearly. i want to see a strong britain in a reformed europe. we have a clear plan. we want to reset the relationship. we will hold the referendum. we were correct -- recommend that resettlement to the british people. has he got a clue what he would do?
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>> the clue is in the title -- prime minister's questions. he is supposed be answering the questions. he has had six months to think about this. it is not too much to ask. the minister without portfolio, the right honorable and learned member from roscoe, who is not here, he would say he would vote unequivocally yes in referendum. he has breached that he wants us to lead the european union. and i -- i am just asking the premise for a straight question:can he guarantee that he will vote yes in on in-out referendum? >> yes, i support britain's membership of reform the european union. only the leader of the opposition would go into negotiations expecting to fail. we go into negotiations knowing what is best for britain.
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but me put it to him again. we now have a very clear approach -- renegotiation and then a referendum. what is his answer to question -- answer? he is meant to lead the opposition, and you cannot fight something with nothing. >> the reason those on the conservative backbenchers are cheering is not because they wanted to vote yes, but because they want him to vote now. that is the reality for the prime minister. he still has not answered the question. let me put it to -- let me put it another way and give him another chance. we know from his speech that he wants to go off and negotiate for fairness, flexibility and motherhood and apple pie in europe. can he name one thing -- just one thing -- which, if he does not get it, he will recommend leaving? >> i do not want britain to lead
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the european union. i want britain to reform the european union. we have set out the areas where we want -- >> order. members are shouting their heads off a prime minister. they must desist. >> we have been a very clear about what we want to see changed. social legislation, employment legislation, environmental legislation, where europe has gone far too far, and we to properly safeguard the single market. we also want to make sure that ever closer union does not apply to the united kingdom. these are the things we are fighting for. but need to the right honorable gentleman again. we want a renegotiation and then a referendum. what does he want? >> 4 hours since the big speech, the prime minister cannot answer the most basic question of all -- whether he is 4 yes or for now. -- fopr no. -- for no.
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why can he not answer it? why can he not say unequivocally that he will vote yes? because he is frightened of the people behind him. the only thing that has changed is that few months ago, when he said he was against a referendum, is not a situation in europe, but the situation in the tory party. why does he not admit it? he has not been driven to it by the national interest, but dried to it by his party. >> the most basic question of all is do you want a referendum? i do. does he? >> my position is now, we do not want a referendum. my position is precisely the same as the prime minister's position when we voted together in october 2011 against referendum.
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my position has not changed. it is his position that has changed. and here is the truth -- after six months of planning a speech on a referendum, he cannot even tell us whether it is a yes or no. >> order. i apologize. i said a moment ago that members should not shut their heads up a prime minister. neither should they shot their heads off at the leader of the opposition. they must stop, and his questions must, and will, be heard. >> the prime minister is going to put britain after years of uncertainty and take a huge gamble with our economy. he is running scared of ukip, and he cannot deliver for britain. >> i have a polite to say to the right honorable gentleman that his whole argument about there being uncertainty is fatally undermined by the fact that he cannot answer whether he wants a
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referendum or not. can i give him a little bit of advice? he needs to go away, get a policy, come back and tell us what it is. in the meantime, our approach is what the british people want. it is right for business, it is right for our economy, and we will fight for it. >> and around the world, 170 million children under the age of five are stunted. that means that they are so malnourished that it has affected their physical and possibly their cognitive development. the world has enough food for everyone. as leading non-governmental organizations such as saving the children watch a major campaign, will the prime minister tell us what action the cable taking during its presidency of the g eight? >> my honorable friend is absolutely right to raise this issue, as we tear the g eight this year, and because some of the leading non-governmental
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organizations like save the children have quite rightly launched this campaign. above all, but britain will be doing is meeting the commitment we have to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on aid -- a commitment that we have made and that we have kept. we will be using that money to make sure that we focus on the issues -- the issues of malnutrition, under-nutrition, and stunting. it is not acceptable in 2013 that there are some millions of families that go hungry. >> the british automotive industry is a world-class success story, with 82% of the cars we produce being exported. the key is in word investment. the key to inward investment is continuing membership of the european union. as the prime minister heard growing voices expressing concern from within the industry over the prolonged uncertainty that his speech this morning will create? does he began to recognize the damage that he might do to our
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economy and to a sector that employs hundreds of thousands of british workers? but first, i agree with the right honorable gentleman that it is very welcome that for the first time since the 1970's, britain is once again under this government a net exporter of cars. that is something to celebrate. but i do not agree with him what he says about the business. this morning at the institute of directors, the director general of the cbi, the chamber of commerce and the federation of small businesses are all coming out and saying that this is the right approach. let's get a good deal for britain. let's reform europe and make more open and competitive. let us put the choice to the british people in a referendum. >> welcome the prime minister's answer and support for ending hunger, and his use of the leadership for that campaign. does he recognize the importance of the route cause of hunger, a land grabs, the use of land for producing biofuels, and the need to make sure that investment in
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these countries is suitably transparent? will he use his leadership to seek a bold action? >> a believe my honorable friend is absolutely right. because britain is meeting its promises on money for aid, your best placed to make the arguments about what i call the golden thread, which is all the things that help move countries from poverty to wealth -- making sure that there is a proper role of law, democratic systems, accountability, a free press, property rights. we need greater transparency about land ownership, companies, and tax. these are all argument that britain will be pushing in the year ahead. >> and the prime minister confirm that his government are the first for 30 years not to offer hardpressed consumers a government funded energy efficiency scheme, following the closure of warm front last week? >> note. the ego-scheme which is many times the size of the warm front
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scheme, it has helped 80,000 families a year, but ego could help out of 230,000 families a year, so it is bigger and potentially better. >> what assessment has the prime minister made of unemployment in my constituency, particularly the fact that more women are in more than ever before? >> the point he makes is absolutely right. there are more people employed in the private sector than ever before. there are also more women employed in our country than ever before. and we look at the unemployment figures that came out today, but we see that what is remarkable is that employment is up in almost every region and unemployment is down and almost every region. there is a huge amount more to do. clearly over 500,000 jobs created in the private sector last year, the fastest job creation since 1989.
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we are on the right track. >> does the prime minister believe that it is fair that preston city council, which represents one of the areas of highest deprivation and poverty, is receiving at 12% cut in its local government funding, while his own west ox richard district council receives only a one% cut? will he look at this again and did preston a fairer deal? >> >> what i would say is that of course local government right across the board is facing a difficult funding supplement. i do not hide from that. the figures are as follows -- the area formula grant per head in his constituency is 501 pounds, whereas in my constituency is 320 pounds. i completely except that needs are greater in different parts of the country, which is why the figures are different, but i think the figures speak for themselves. >> may i congratulate my right honorable friend on a landmark
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speech this morning, which demonstrated serious leadership of our country and leadership on the important issue of europe. i invite him to agree with me on this issue -- it is not simply the united kingdom and is seeking to run a good shade treaties, -- because there is a series of art and those members of the eurozone who had introduced the disastrous single currency policy into europe, which has caused economic chaos. they are the ones in need of treaty negotiation, not just us. >> i thank my honorable friend for what he says. the point he makes is correct -- there is a big change taking place in europe because of the reforms necessary to deal with the single currency. that is what treaty change and change in europe is coming. there is also already a big debate in britain about our role in europe. i think politicians have a choice -- we can either walked towards that, try to shape a
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choice, get a good deal for britain, make changes that will benefit all of europe, or you can stick your head in the sand and salt bulk and will go away. >> why does the prime minister think that scotland's to your referendum process is too long but his eye. your a marathon is just fine? -- two-year referendum process is too long to get his five-year marathon is just fine? >> we will be arguing that scotland should stay in the united kingdom. but i want to see in europe is a change of europe. then we ask the people. >> i am sure the prime minister will have seen at today's report from the department for communities and local government highlighting the huge savings that can be made a turning around the country's most troubled families, such as the 220 four million pound -- 224
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million punds saved by councils in greater manchester. what is he doing to ensure that these lessons are put to good use by local authorities across the country? >> bair right honorable friend makes an important point, and i do not understand what people try to shout down what should be across party initiative. one council spent up to 20% of its budget and just 3% of its families. this is a problem affecting all local authorities. i am very much commending the approach that communities secretary is taking, to bring together local councils and work out how we can help these families solve their problems and thus reduce a major impact on taxpayers as well. >> the government's welfare bill will plunge to 200,000 extra children into poverty, and children in places such as liverpool are already suffering. yet the government wants to make the poor go away by redefining
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poverty. does the prime minister really think he is going to get away with that? >> what i would say to the honorable lady is that the introduction of universal credit is going to reduce the number of children living in relative income property by around 250,000. on the issue of welfare, we face a clear choice. given that in-work benefits have gone up by 20% over the last five years, compared with just 10% increase in wages, we believe is right that welfare benefits should not continue to go up ahead of wages. i note from what labour have done this week, a great sound and fury, voting against the bill, saying it is completely wrong, but completely refusing to reverse it. that is the policy vacuum that we face. >> hitt given the prime minister's keen interest in single market, will he look at mortgage lenders restricting legal work to a small number of larger firms and depriving local practices of the work that keeps
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them up a part of local high streets and a thriving knucklehead his economy? >> he makes a very good point. i will look closely at this. we do want to see a competitive market and financial services. it is a major issue in our economy at the moment to get that mortgage market moving. there are good signs, as the governor of the bank of england said, that credit conditions are easing, but we need to make sure that they are easy for people or try to buy their first flat first, i do not have a deposit or a lot of help from the bank of mom and dad. >> in answer to my right honorable friend, the prime minister justify a very large cuts in defense spending, with 5000 troops being sacked right now, on the basis that happens had to face some difficult decisions on expenditure. but those decisions were made in 2010. the security risk facing this country is now much worse, as he himself has the knowledge and as
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many of his honor -- many of his own honorable friend's fear. given those threats, is there not an overwhelming case for looking again at the strategic defense review and ensuring that our troops have the numbers needed to justify our defense? >> the right honorable gentleman makes a serious point. the point about our defense reviews is that they are every five years, there will be an opportunity to look at this all over again. the level of risk -- amid this point in my statement on monday -- the risks are changing. we still face the biggest risk from the afghanistan-pakistan area, but the proportion of the risks that we face from that area has declined. we are able to use resources as we draw down in afghanistan to cope with the other risks that we face. the overall point is absolutely, yes, we are going to have a smaller regular army, although the extra reserves will mean
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that the overall level of our army hardly changes the size. they will be better equipped, more capable, more mobile, more capable of dealing with the modern threats we face. >> i congratulate the prime minister on his speech on europe this morning. this prime minister has a history of going in to bat for britain. labour party has a history of going in and surrendering things such as the rebate. is not the big difference between that side and that's that this side trusts the people on that side wants them to deny them a say? klutz my honorable friend makes an important point. frankly, the british public have seen treaty after treaty introduced to this house, passing powers from westminster to brussels. they have seen a huge change in the european union over the last 30 years. they see a big change taking place because of the eurozone. that is why i think it is right
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to recycle our relationship with europe and then trust the people. >> as with the phone hacking, blacklisting has destroyed the lives of many innocent people. recent revelations showed that the secretive, serious abuse of powers involved in blacklisting continues with the involvement of the police and security services. will the prime minister order an immediate investigation into this scandal, which has ruined and continues to ruin the lives of many hard-working men and women and their families? >> the honorable gentleman really raises the issue that the opposition will be racing today in their debate. but ms. say that the blacklisting that occurred was completely unacceptable practice. the previous government or right to bring in legislation to make it unlawful. we have seen no evidence that a blacklisting regulations that were introduced are not doing their job. the company responsible was shut down in 20 -- 2009.
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however, i welcome the openness and frankness with which labor is using an opposition today to look at something that went wrong while they were in office. >> my right honorable friend insists on five excellent principles, including democracy based on a national parliaments, and he rejects ever closer union. other members -- other member states want to go ahead with more integration and are demanding it. last year, on the fiscal compact, they ignored his veto and went ahead, irrespective of the rules of the european union. well my right honorable friend tell us what will happen if by next spring they insist on going ahead with their own intended proposals, and what will he do in response? first, i think my honorable friend for what he says. i believe that what is going to happen is that the eurozone countries do need to make changes to the european union, as a put in my speech this
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morning. they are changing the union and to fix the currency. that is what the president's report is about. that is what the four president's report is about. it poses quite wide-ranging tree -- a quite wide-ranging treaty change. i think this is just the opportunity and right to argue that for countries not in the resin, and frankly, i believe are never going to join the eurozone, that there are changes we would like, not just for ourselves, but for a more open, competitive, and flexible europe. there'll be changes in europe. the resin countries do need to make changes, but we should not back off. >> is the prime minister aware that there can be nothing more gruesome than to see him headed out of the austerity-riddled britain to wine and dine at davos with 50 top bankers who helped to create the economic crash and several hundred tax-
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avoidance millionaires? -- tax-avoiding millionaires? does it not prove the theory that you want to identify a possible light, look at the company he keeps it? >> issing to remember that last year i ran into the leader of the opposition. to be there, i think when he sees the speech but i will be making in davos, which will be arguing that we need greater transparency over tax, a greater responsibility over the tax avoidance and tax evasion issues, greater transparency about companies and the land issue, he might even find that he agrees with some of the things i'm going to say. >> will the prime minister cut through the relevant arguments coming from the opposition and given the very simple message -- ss